Can Noticeable Neglect Lead to Criminal Charges?

By Joel Hancock

Being a parent is no easy feat; it comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to protect the physical health and welfare of our children. Not only does that include things such as ensuring that they have food and shelter, but also taking our children to the doctor for an annual exam. Noticeable neglect is taken very seriously because when left as is it can commonly lead to infections, loss of function, or even death. Even something like dental neglect can cause severe pain and result in a serious condition, such as periodontal disease. Any type of neglect will have a greater impact on children and their development, affecting everything from their ability to learn, to their communication, and even their nutrition. 

What Happens When Child Protective Services is Called for Noticeable Neglect?

Often times Child Protective Services (CPS) will receive a phone call because someone such as a teacher or neighbor notices that something is physically wrong with the child. It isn’t necessarily noticing signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, but may also be something as seemingly minute as dental neglect. Because child neglect can often result in visible injury, it can turn into a criminal manner. In fact, it is possible to both neglect and abuse a child via the same action or inaction. 

Neglect is the most common form of child mistreatment in the country. When CPS is called due to noticeable neglect in an area of a child’s healthcare or welfare, there will be a full investigation launched. Most of the injuries that are noticeable to social services are those of any physical harm that has been sustained. For example, if a parent is not providing their child with adequate nutrition, he or she may look extremely emaciated or starved. It is not the neglect itself that is noticed, but rather the physical consequences. 

The reasons as to why children do not receive proper care are not always so black and white. Often times this occurs due to hardships or tough situations, although poor parenting often contributes. These reasons include:

  • Inadequate finances
  • Parental Ignorance
  • Family isolation
  • Lack of understanding as to the importance of a type of care

However, regardless of the reason that a child does not receive proper care, the parent or guardian is still responsible for the physical injuries. 

Types of Abuse

While there are four different types of abuse (physical, emotional/psychological, medical, and educational) it is usually the physical abuse, which with most parents are charged. This is because visible physical injury or trauma is most easily identifiable.  

Criminal neglect leading to physical abuse is often identified through things such as the child’s appearance, bruises, broken bones, lacerations, or even behavior. 

Hancock Law Firm Helps Those in NC Who Have Been Charged with Criminal Neglect

If you are convicted of criminal neglect and resulting abuse it can have a profound impact on you and many different aspects of your life. That is why it is so important that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who will work hard to get your charges minimized or even dismissed. At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we understand the significance of such a charge and will fight for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.